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way to subject the weakest by despising him CHAP. who is their superior ? One is ashamed to an- III. swer seriously such false afperfions, the ignominy of which reflects upon those who oppose the truth, and treat as fabulous upon casions every thing which is said of magic.
ARTICLE VI. Confutation of the Jewish calumny with
respext to magic.
ET the Jews, and those who authoriso
their unjust suspicions, listen to what a legion of devils proftrate at Christ's feet declared ; and let them learn of those affrighted fpirits who is it that held them in subjection, and what power he had of casting them out into the deep. They say, *" Jesus thou Son of
God, what have we to do with thee?” (Let calumny hearken to this, and seek for a darker place than hell to hide itself) “are you
come to torment us before the time ? we “ beseech you not to command us to go out “ into the deep.” Let them listen allo to what one of these spirits declare, being constrained to leave the possessed, even before Christ had laid his external command, t “ What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy
I know thee who thou art, the holy “ One of God.” This confession extorted
from * Matth. viii. 29.
+ Luke yiij. 31. Mark i. 23.
PART from the mouth of falfhood is most magnifi
IV. cent and august; for it is actually acknowwledging Christ to be the holy One of God;
and nevertheless Christ answers only by putting him to silence, who confessed and adored him in this manner. I “Hold thy peace, he
saith, rebuking him, and come out of the c. man.”
Thus he silenced many devils, who when they came out of the poffeffed, cried, *« Thou
art Christ the Son of God. . And he rebuking them, suffered them not to speak : for
they knew that he was Christ.” Such a prohibition appeared opposite to the progress of the gospel, which received an unquestionable testimony on the side of the devils, fince they were compelled to give it at the very time Christ treated them as impure fpirits, and by his command they were constrained to relinquish the possessed. But from this testimony the devils might afterwards have derived honour, for having favoured the truth ; now they were unworthy of this honour ; every thing which came from them was odious and Christ was so imbittered against these impious spirits, that he looked upon his name to be prophaned in their mouth, even at the time they paid him adoration.
If it be affirmed, that these facts were advanced by the evangelists with a design to raise the reputation of Christ, it rather enforces than extenuates my reasoning ; for the evangelifts could invent them only in consequence of
their I Ver. 23
* Luke iv. 41.
their hatred to the devil, and of every thing CHAP. which issues from him; and such an hatred, IV. which doubtless was instilled into them by Chrift, is incompatible with the suspicion of any commerce with that fpirit of darkness, either for their master or themselves.
We have seen, when the apostles and their miracles were examined, how much their doctrine was opposite to all impious curiosity, and to all the methods fuggefted by the devil of knowing future events. How much they endeavoured to subvert his dominion, and eradicate. all superstition and idolatrous pageantry; how much they detested his approbation and praise by putting him to silence, as Christ had done ; how
very solicitous they were to demand of all those, who were baptized, to renounce Satan and his works; and how they inspired their difciples with estrangement and hatred, not only in respect to magic, but to every thing which could affect the simplicity of the worship due to God alone. A person must be void of all understanding, not to discover from what fource fuch sentiments and conduct proceed, and not to give glory to Christ for the fanctity of his apostles, and their exact severity in all these points.
But as I have already observed, 'tis doing too much honour to so gross a calumny, to offer a serious confutation. Christ risen from the dead, sitting at the right-hand of his Father, sending his Spirit down on his disciples, destroying every where the idols and their altars, exiling the devil to his ancient darkness,
PART is infinitely superior to so trivial an accusation. IV. It may suffice to ask, * Whether the devil
could give light to a man born blind, or restore to life a man that had been four days dead ? Fallhood may cast a mist before the eyes, and beguile; but a real, constant, and manent resurrection, is the work only of the Creator, and the living and true God.
CH A P. V.
Testimony given by Saint John the Baptist of
Chrift: authority of such a testimony condered, with relation to all the circumstances which accompany it. John the Baptist is certainly the fore-runner foretold by the prophets, and consequently Jesus Christ, whose forerunner he was, is the Messiah. Authority of the testimony of John the Baptist by the union and concurrence of many circumstances, which demonstrate the truth of it, Predi&tion made to Zacharias, who was speechless. Fecundity of the aged and barren Elizabeth. Speech restored to Zacharias : evident prediction of the future ministry of his son. John being concealed in the desart until the hour of his manifestation, and proclaiming, when he appeared, that the Messiah was come, tho' he did not distinctly know him, is certainly inspired
*“ Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
" said certain Jews, who refuted the accusation which others alledged against Christ, of his being poflefied, John X. 21.
with a divine light. The personal character CHAP. of Saint John, and the idea which he had of V. the Messiah, and of true justice, prove his mission to be divine. The constant refusal of Saint John to pass for the Meffab, is a convincing proof of his fincerity. His sentiments with relation to Christ, whose glory he was desirous to augment at the expence of bis own, add a farther dignity to his testimony. The martyrdom of Saint John seals his testimony. Important reflections upon the character of his resolution and prudence in parting with his disciples, and bringing them over to Christ. Invincible strength of these united proofs : they might suffice, abstracted from all others.
HRIST relies only upon himself, to
prove what he is : his divinity is above
John (he says to the Jews) and he bare
testimony from man, but these things I
ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his
light. But I have greater witness than that
We + John v. 33:
* John X. 21.